Sitting in her bed with the lights dimmed, sophomore Ginella Joy Santos, tells herself to focus on the beat of the song and let all of her tension go. Hearing her cue, Santos starts singing and the emotions pour out through her voice.
“I feel free, unrestricted and it’s crazy how much you can control and manipulate your voice to do so many different things,” Santos said. “You can sing happy, sad, even angry. Singing is a great way for me to let out all of the feelings I have bottled up inside in a positive way. It just makes me feel good inside.”
For many years, Santos has been drawn to singing, but lately she has started to publicly show her talent.
“Nella was always singing, ever since she was a toddler,” Santos’ mom, Gina Santos said. “No matter what time, it could be late at night, I always heard her singing and still do. I wish she sang more in front of people because I love hearing it and her voice should be heard because it makes me so proud.”
For inspiration, Santos always leans towards famous artists such as Billie Eilish, who write songs laced with emotion.
“I really like to look up to Billie Eilish because her voice is so unique and it’s beautifully airy,” Santos said. “You can say that it almost feels ‘soft’ when you listen to her. Then of course, I look up to very well known singers like Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, SZA, Daniel Caesar, Frank Ocean because of the amount of range they have. I love singing all of their songs especially.”
Listening to her favorite artists, Santos is able to pick up on mistakes she makes when singing such as sounding nasally.
“I usually try to avoid singing through my nose, by doing so, you can sound flat,” Santos said. “I also try to make sure that my posture is always correct; without proper posture, you would not be able to support your voice. Another mistake I try to avoid is building up tension in my tongue and jaw. Being really tense can alter the sound coming out, so I try to make sure that I relax. If I am not mindful of these things, they can all contribute to being major setbacks.”
Santos doesn’t like to focus on a specific genre, however, when a day is filled with stress and there is a build-up of negativity, she leans towards soul music.
“I like songs that have a lot of ‘soul’ behind it and I enjoy belting,” Santos said. “My favorite song to sing at the moment is probably ‘When I Was Your Man’ by Bruno Mars because of the range the song has. It has some low parts, but then parts that let me belt which I love. It also hits home for personal reasons and I feel like I can relate to the song in many ways.”
The abundance of support from friends and family gives her courage to continue singing and to start an Instagram account called, Melodicnells.
“My peers encourage and constantly support me and that helps keep me going,” Santos said. “Without their encouragement, I don’t think I would have even posted a video of me singing. My Instagram account is honestly just for fun and it’s somewhere I can put my voice out into the world for anyone that wants to hear it.”
Due to COVID-19, Santos has been able to practice and hone in her singing skills more often than before. She utilizes singing as a hobby and to release all of her built-up emotions.
“You can sing anywhere and being at home just gave me all the more time to practice singing,” Santos said. “Singing is so important to me because it lets me express myself, like whenever I have a bad day and I start singing I immediately feel better. It is my way of coping with things and it’s always there for me to do, but I actually do not see myself singing professionally in the future.”